Skip navigation

Followership and Performance in Acquisition, Research and Development Organizations

Author: Valentin Novikov  
Issue: 1  
Volume: 9  
Year: 2016

Although Kelley (1992) contended that approximately 80 percent of the organization’s success may be attributed to followers, the concept of followership remains an understudied phenomenon (Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014. One study, conducted by Oyetunji (2013), focused on the impact of followership styles on job performance in the Botswana culture. It included only in-role behaviors (IRB) and not organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) even though Blanchard, Welbourne, Gilmore, and Bullock (2009) posited that exemplary followers exhibit proactive behaviors and take the initiative leading to actions far beyond the minimum job requirements. Since this may have caused Oyetunji’s (2013) study results to be inconsistent with Kelley’s (1992) followership model, a cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted for the first time on the impact of followership styles on both IRB and OCB job performance. The research results supported the supposition that there is a difference in average job performance and work group performance of exemplary followers in comparison to pragmatist followers. Furthermore, the results supported the hypotheses that correlations exist between the active engagement dimension of followership with both job and work group performance, as well as the critical thinking dimension of followership and job performance. Finally, the study found no statistically significant correlation exist between critical thinking and work group performance. These results pointed to the need for future empirical research on the relationships of followership styles and dimensions with job and organizational performance.


Although leadership is an important aspect of organizational success, about 80 percent of the success is considered a direct result of follower contributions (Kelley, 1992). Despite this, inadequate research has been conducted on followership (Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014). Without followers, leadership cannot exist (Uhl-Bien et al., 2014) since followership is the opposite side of the leadership coin (Williams, 2008).

Kelley (1988) posited that followers can assume one of five different roles based on their degree of active engagement and independent critical thinking. These roles range from exemplary, conformist, passive, alienated and pragmatist followership (Kelley, 1992). Based on Kelley’s (1992) followership model, followers’ effectiveness is theorized to vary depending upon the style of followership that employees assume within an organization.

Although three previous scholarly studies and two dissertations used Kelley’s (1992) followership model, only one of these studies examined the effectiveness of followers. This one study was limited since it examined only one of three aspects of follower performance, as posited by Williams and Anderson (1991). This limitation may have contributed significantly to the unexpected results that were obtained by Oyetunji (2013) suggesting that passive not exemplary followers were good performers. Another contributing factor to these unpredicted results may have been the significant cultural differences between Oyetunji’s (2013) Botswana culture, which is conjectured to be high power distance based on its proximity to South Africa (Purohit & Simmers, 2006; Booysen & van Wyk, 2007), and the culture where Kelley’s (1992) followership model originated.

As a result, a study was conducted to examine for the first time the differences in both job and organizational performance of different followership styles posited by Kelley (1992) within the United States’ low power distance culture (Hoppe & Bhagat, 2007). Unlike Oyetunji’s (2013) study, job performance was measured using not just in-role behaviors but all three aspects of individual performance theorized by Williams and Anderson (1991). Furthermore, organizational performance was measured using a slight modification of Huang’s (2009) research and development measurement scale since the unit of measure was project management personnel from the United States Army’s defense acquisition community and personnel from the research and development community, which have similar organizational effectiveness standards of cost, schedule and performance. Additionally, the research also investigated for the first time the correlation of active engagement and critical thinking of followers with job and organizational performance. Therefore, this study addressed the following two research questions:

  1. What are the differences in job and organizational performance of acquisition and research and development employees that use different followership styles?
  2. Is there a correlation between the active engagement and the critical thinking of acquisition and research and development employees with their job performance and the performance of their work groups?

These questions were addressed empirically by surveying study participants on the perception of their followership behaviors and their perception of their job and work group’s performance. Provided is an overview of the scholarly literature on performance and Kelley’s (1992) followership model that was used to inform the

research hypotheses, a description of the methods used to conduct the research, the results of the study, and a discussion of the implications of the study results.

Literature Review

Based on the focus of the research questions, a review of scholarly literature was conducted on the concepts and theories associated with study. These concepts and theories were used to support the development of the study hypotheses. The associated concepts and theories include: Kelly’s (1992) model of followership, follower performance, and organizational performance.

Kelley’s Model of Followership

Kelley (1992) posited that there are five followership styles. These include exemplary, conformist, passive, alienated and pragmatist styles (Kelley, 1992). These followership styles are based on a combination of two different followership dimensions: engagement and critical thinking (Kelley, 1992). Follower engagements range between passive and active (Kelley, 1992). Passive engagement involves followers waiting for direction from the leader before reactively taking action (Kelley, 1992; Latour & Rast, 2004). Active engagement consists of followers taking the initiative to actively participate in the organization’s tasks (Bjugstad, Thach, Thompson, & Morris, 2006).

Critical thinking ranges between dependent uncritical thinking and independent critical thinking (Kelley, 2008). Dependent uncritical thinkers accept information that is provided to them at face value without any evaluation or questioning (Latour & Rast, 2004). Independent critical thinkers do not accept information without questioning, rather, they evaluate and analyze information to identify consequences and opportunities (Latour & Rast, 2004).

Exemplary followership. Exemplary followers rank high in both active engagement and independent critical thinking. Exemplary followers think for themselves and are therefore willing to challenge leaders by providing alternative solutions if they disagree with the leader (Kelley, 1992). They proactively support organizational goals and leader decisions that are congruent with their beliefs (Kelley, 1992). Exemplary followers “assume responsibilities beyond their minimum job requirements and exert considerable effort to accomplish goals” (Blanchard et al., 2009, p. 112-113). Finally, exemplary followers work well with others (Bjugstad et al., 2006).

Conformist followership. Conformist followers are high in active engagement but are dependent uncritical thinkers (Kelley, 1992). Kelley (2008) referred to conformist followers as “yes people” (p. 7). Conformist followers are very active doers that unquestioningly follow leader directions (Bjugstad et al., 2006; Kelley, 2008).

Passive followership. Passive followers are low in active engagement and are dependent uncritical thinkers (Kelley, 1992). Passive followers are referred to as sheep (Kelly, 2008) who unquestioningly follow the leader but only after being given constant direction (Bjugstad et al., 2006). After completing a task, the passive follower typically waits for direction before beginning the next task (Latour & Rast, 2004).

Alienated followership. Alienated followers are highly independent critical thinkers but are low in engagement (Kelley, 1992). They think for themselves, but instead of being positive like exemplary followers, who proactively provide alternative solutions to the leader, alienated followers are negative critical skeptics (Kelley, 2008). They consider themselves as mavericks who are willing to oppose management (Kelley, 2008).

Pragmatist followership. Those with the fifth follower style are pragmatists who have a moderate level of engagement and portray a moderate level of critical thinking (Kelley, 1992). They are uncommitted and wait to see where things are going before they take action (Kelley, 2008). Pragmatists tend to maintain the status quo and wait for crises to pass before taking action (Kelley, 2008).

Empirical Studies Using Kelley’s Followership Model

Three scholarly studies and two dissertations using Kelley’s (1992) followership model have been published. These include studies on the impacts of followership styles on: job satisfaction (Blanchard et al., 2009), organizational commitment (Blanchard et al., 2009, Fobbs, 2010), in-role effectiveness (Oyetunji, 2013), leadership personality dimensions (Tanoff & Barlow, 2002), and courageous follower attributes (Fobbs, 2010). The last study involved the impact of leadership styles on followership styles (Colangelo, 2000).

Followership, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Blanchard et al. (2009) conducted a study on the two dimensions of followership posited by Kelley (1992) and job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Blanchard et al. (2009) surveyed “331 faculty members from a large southeastern university” (p. 117).

Blanchard et al. (2009) employed an instrument that measured followership dimensions (Kelley, 1992), intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction using the Minnesota satisfaction questionnaire – short form (Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist, 1967), and affective and normative organizational commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1997). The study results suggested that: active engagement by followers was positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and independent critical thinking was negatively related to extrinsic job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Blanchard et al., 2009). The interaction effects between active engagement and independent critical thinking revealed that the impact of independent critical thinking on job satisfaction was dependent upon the level of active engagement of the followers (Blanchard et al., 2009). Specifically, Blanchard et al. (2009) found that when high active engagement

followers engaged in critical thinking, intrinsic job satisfaction but not extrinsic job satisfaction increased. Low active engagement followers who engaged in independent critical thinking had decreased extrinsic job satisfaction (Blanchard et al., 2009).

Followership styles and in-role effectiveness in Botswana universities. Oyetunji (2013) conducted research on lecturers’ followership styles and effectiveness in Botswana private universities. Oyetunji (2013) surveyed 102 lecturers using Kelley’s (1992) followership style questionnaire, and four items of in-role performance from Williams and Anderson’s (1991) job performance questionnaire. Oyetunji’s (2013) study found that over half of the lecturers had a pragmatic followership style with the remainder of the lecturers nearly equally distributed between the alienated, exemplary, and passive leadership styles. The participants self-reported their followership style using Kelley’s (1992) questionnaire, and self-reported their perception of their in-role job performance. Although Kelley’s (1992) theory posited that exemplary followers should be exceptional performers, Oyetunji’s (2013) study results suggested the opposite. Passive performers viewed themselves as good performers while the other lecturers using the other three followership styles viewed their performance less favorably.

An analysis of Oyetunji’s (2013) study methodology suggested that his unexpected results may have been impacted by his lack of use of out-of-role performance items from Williams and Anderson’s (1991) performance survey instrument. This may have been significant since Blanchard et al. (2009) posited that exemplary followers exhibit proactive behaviors and take the initiative leading to actions far beyond the minimum job requirements, which can only be captured in out-role behaviors from Williams and Anderson’s (1991) survey instrument that were not included in the Oyetunji’s (2013) study. Consequently, the study’s results may have been different had Oyetunji (2013) included all of the 20 performance items from Williams and Anderson’s (1991) questionnaire.

Furthermore, differences in culture may have also had an impact on Oyetunji’s (2013) unexpected study results. Southern African countries probably have a higher power distance like neighboring South Africa (Purohit & Simmers, 2006; Booysen & van Wyk, 2007) in comparison to the United States, which is a low power distance society (Hoppe & Bhagat, 2007). In high power distance cultures, followers are expected to comply with rules (Dickson, Den Hartog, & Michelson, 2003) and are less willing to challenge leaders (Adsit, London, Crom, & Jones, 1997). Consequently, followers are probably less proactive since they do not want to inadvertently appear to be challenging their leaders. Consequently, individuals with non-passive follower styles may have considered their performance as less than effective in Oyetunji’s (2013) study since these followership styles include either critical thinking or proactivity that could be considered as culturally unacceptable challenges to the high power distance leader.

Followership styles and leadership personality dimensions. Tanoff and Barlow (2002) conducted a study on leadership personality dimensions and Kelley’s (1992) followership styles. Tanoff and Barlow (2002) surveyed 130 military college students using Kelley’s (1992) followership model and Curphy’s (1998) leadership personality survey. Tanoff and Barlow’s (2002) study results suggested that both the followership dimensions of critical thinking and active engagement are similar to the personality dimensions of effective leaders.

Followership style, courageous follower attributes and job satisfaction. Fobbs’ (2010) dissertation consisted of a study on employee job satisfaction based on the influence of followership styles and courageous followers’ attributes. Fobbs (2010) surveyed 120 hotel personnel using several instruments that included Kelly’s (1992) followership questionnaire. The study results indicated that despite the fact that there is a strong relationship between followership style and courageous followership behaviors, it appears that followership style is not related to job satisfaction (Fobb, 2010).

Leadership styles impact on followership styles. Colangelo’s (2000) dissertation consisted of a study on leadership styles relationship with followership dimensions of active engagement, critical independent thinking, passion, and team mindedness.

Colangelo’s (2000) surveyed 567 United States Air Force enlisted personnel using Kelly’s (1992) followership survey, Hersey’s (1993) lead other questionnaire, four item passion questionnaire, and a five item team mindedness questionnaire. Colangelo (2000) found that democratic leadership but not autocratic or laissez-faire leadership was significantly related to active engagement, passion and team mindedness but not critical independent thinking.

Performance

There are two distinct types of performance. They include both follower and organizational performance.

Follower performance. Blanchard et al. (2009) posited that “individuals who demonstrate active engagement go above and beyond expectations, proactively participate in activities, and provide high-quality work” (p. 113). Since followers that are actively engaged exhibit behaviors beyond expectations, it is posited that the evaluation of performance should include more than just in-role behaviors (IRB).

O’Reilly and Chatman (1986) defined in-role behaviors as those that just fulfill job descriptions and are included in formal reward systems.

Williams and Anderson’s (1991) study suggested that individual performance includes three distinct types: IRB, organizational citizenship behavior individual (OCBI) and organizational citizenship behavior organization (OCBO). Organizational citizenship

behaviors (OCB) are behaviors that “improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness” (Williams & Anderson, 1991, p. 601). They are voluntary behaviors that are outside of the in-role behaviors (Williams & Anderson, 1991). OCBO behaviors benefit the organization while OCBI behaviors benefit members within the organization and only benefit the organization indirectly (Williams & Anderson, 1991). The motivation for OCBI behaviors typically exemplify altruism, while the motivation for OCBO behaviors is generalized compliance (Organ & Konovsky, 1989).

Organizational performance. Huang’s (2009) study on 60 research and development (R&D) teams in Taiwan suggested that team performance is impacted by group cohesiveness. Since exemplary followers are postulated to work well with others (Bjugstad et al., 2006), which is required for the task related aspects of group cohesiveness (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985), it is postulated that followership style probably impacts team performance.

Hypothesis Development

Using the results of the literature review that related to the various aspects of the research questions, this study’s hypotheses concentrated on the differences in job and organizational performance of different followership styles, and the potential correlation of active engagement and critical thinking with job and organizational performance within the American culture. The study included an examination of the respondents’ followership styles posited by Kelley (1992), the respondents’ perceptions of their job performance using all three aspects of job performance theorized by Williams and Anderson (1991), and work group performance postulated by Huang (2009). Although Kelley’s (1992) followership styles have been examined in five previous studies, the focus of all but one study did not include performance. The one study by Oyetunji’s (2013) examined performance but was limited to just in-role behaviors and ignored the out-role OCB behaviors as well as organizational performance.

Followership styles and job performance. Based on Kelley’s (1992) followership model job performance can be expected to be different for each of the various types of followership. For example, exemplary followers are probably the only acquisition project management or R&D team members that can be anticipated to go beyond expectations. Therefore, it was posited that exemplary followers’ job performance probably included not only IRB but also OCB behaviors. Since conformist followers are actively engaged yes people (Kelley, 1992), it was posited that their behaviors probably included IRB, but may not include OCB performance. Since passive followers simply follow directions (Kelley, 1992), it was posited that their behaviors probably meet minimum IRB requirements. Furthermore, since pragmatist followers drag their feet while trying to maintain the status quo until they see the benefit of change (Kelley, 1992), it was posited that their job performance may also be limited to in-role behaviors.

Lastly, since alienated followers vociferously criticize the leader and the organization (Kelley, 1992), it was posited that their job performance was probably significantly less than any of the other types of followers. Consequently, the study included the following hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 1a: The average job performance of exemplary followers is different than the average job performance of conformist followers.
  • Hypothesis 1b: The average job performance of exemplary followers is different than the average job performance of passive followers.
  • Hypothesis 1c: The average job performance of exemplary followers is different than the average job performance of alienated followers.
  • Hypothesis 1d: The average job performance of exemplary followers is different than the average job performance of pragmatist followers.

Followership styles and organizational performance. The unit of analysis for the study was followers from acquisition project management and R&D teams. Since organizational outcomes within acquisition project management offices are similar to R&D teams (Huang, 2009), this study examined not only follower performance but organizational performance. This is because both R&D teams and acquisition project management teams are focused on developing innovative solutions within a prescribed cost and schedule. Furthermore, similar to R&D teams (Huang, 2009), project management is a complex endeavor (Ng & Walker, 2008) that requires the integration of a diverse set of teams of multiple cross-functional experts (Stagnaro & Piotrowski, 2014). To achieve success, project managers and R&D team leaders must integrate stakeholders into the process, build teams, and generate a cohesive environment (Johnson, Boucher, Connors, & Robinson, 2001). Since active followers tend to actively or proactively follow orders that requires working collaboratively with others, it was posited that work groups with exemplary followers, who are actively engaged, probably have higher organizational performance. Consequently, the study included the following additional hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 2a: The average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers is different than work groups with conformist followers.
  • Hypothesis 2b: The average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers is different than work groups with passive followers.
  • Hypothesis 2c: The average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers is different than work groups with alienated followers.
  • Hypothesis 2d: The average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers is different than work groups with pragmatist followers.

Active engagement, critical thinking, and job and organizational performance. The key dimensions of each of the followership styles was the level of the follower active engagement in the organization, and the level of the critical thinking of the follower. Consequently, since followers with different styles were theorized to have different levels of job performance that impacts organizational performance, it was posited that active engagement and critical thinking were probably correlated with job and organizational performance. Consequently, the study included the following additional hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 3a: Followers’ active engagement is correlated with follower job performance.
  • Hypothesis 3b: Followers’ critical thinking is correlated with follower jobperformance
  • Hypothesis 4a: Follower’s active engagement is correlated with organizational performance
  • Hypothesis 4b: Followers’ critical thinking is correlated with organizational performance.

Methodology

The study explored for the first time the differences in job performance and organizational performance of different followership styles, and the possible correlations of active engagement and critical thinking with job and organizational performance in Army acquisition project management and R&D offices. Since validated survey instruments for the study’s independent and dependent variables were available that have been used within previous studies, this study did not create any new empirical survey instruments. Since previous empirical research on the impact of followership styles on job performance has been limited in scope to in-role behaviors within the Botswana culture, this study was conducted to examine for the first time the impact of followership styles on all three aspects of job performance posited by Williams and Anderson (1991) and organizational performance within the United States. Since a validated scale exists for the organizational performance of R&D and acquisition project management teams the study was conducted using participants from both the Army’s R&D and defense acquisition communities. The description of the methodology for the study includes an explanation of the research design, population and sample, variables, instrumentation, data collection method, and data analysis to test the hypotheses.

Research Design

The study used a cross-sectional study method (Cozby & Bates, 2012) to examine the differences in the job and organizational performance of the five types of followership styles. The study examined the occurrence of the dimensions of followership within different project management and R&D offices within the Department of the Army. This study incorporated survey instruments that contained items that examined the respondents’ perceptions of their followership style, and job performance within the project management and R&D office, and the respondents’ view of the effectiveness of their organization’s performance. The study also recorded the demographical information of the respondents.

Population and Sample

The population for the study was 224 employees in one Army project management and 54 personnel from one R&D organization in the United States. The Army has 13 program executive offices (PEO) that conduct project management activities to acquire new defense materiel for the United States military and seven laboratories that conduct R&D research projects spread throughout the United States. Each of these offices and laboratories is led by either a general officer or a civilian senior executive servant (SES). Each PEO and laboratory have several project management offices and directorates that are led by Army colonels or GS15 civil servants.

The research performed a convenience sampling (Cozby & Bates, 2012) of both 22 supervisory and 35 non-supervisory employees that volunteered to participate from each of the organizations that had been purposively selected and voluntarily agreed to partake in the study. Since most supervisors within the American culture are direct reports to someone else, supervisors within the acquisition and research and development communities serve in both leadership and followership roles. Consequently, supervisor viewpoints on their own followership experiences was included in this study.

Variables

The study included independent, dependent, and demographic variables. The independent variables captured the respondents’ perception of their active engagement and critical thinking that were used to calculate the followership styles of the respondents. Each hypothesis used one independent variable, and one continuous dependent variable.

Independent variables

The study included seven different interval scale independent variables that represent the two dimensions of followership and the five followership styles posited by Kelly (1998). These variables were: active engagement, critical thinking, exemplary, conformist, passive, alienated, and pragmatist. Each of the seven independent variables possessed face and content construct validity (Cozby & Bates, 2012) since they were taken from Kelley’s (1992) validated followership model that were examined in three different published research studies and two dissertations. Each of the variables for followership style were a combination of the critical thinking and active engagement dimensions posited by Kelley (1988).

Active Engagement. Active engagement represents that amount of involvement the follower has in organizational activities (Kelley, 1992). High active engagement involves proactive participation in organizational activities, while low active engagement involves reactive participation in organizational activities after being provided guidance and direction (Kelley, 1992). The active engagement independent variable was used in hypotheses 3a and 4a.

Critical Thinking. Critical thinking represents the level where the follower accepts information with or without self-analysis (Kelley, 1992). High critical thinking involves follower analysis of information before it is accepted (Kelley, 1992). Low critical thinking involves followers accepting information without question (Kelley, 1992). The critical thinking independent variable was used in hypotheses 3b and 4b.

Exemplary. The exemplary variable represents a followership style that is high in both critical thinking and active engagement dimensions (Kelley, 1992). The exemplary followership variable was used in hypotheses one and two.

Conformist. The conformist variable epitomizes a follower style that is low in critical thinking and high in active engagement dimensions (Kelley, 1992). The conformist followership variable was employed in hypotheses 1a and 2a.

Passive. The passive variable characterizes a follower style that is low in both critical thinking and active engagement dimensions (Kelley, 1992). Hypotheses 1b and 2b included the passive followership variable.

Alienated. The alienated variable represents a follower style that is high in critical thinking and low in active engagement dimensions (Kelley, 1992). The alienated followership variable was used in hypotheses 1c and 2c.

Pragmatist. The pragmatist variable characterizes a follower style that is moderate in both critical thinking and active engagement dimensions (Kelley, 1992). Hypotheses 1d and 2d included the pragmatist followership variable.

Dependent variables

There are two interval scale continuous dependent variables in the study. These variables are job performance and organizational performance.

Job performance. The dependent variable for the outcomes of followers’ styles in hypotheses one and three was job performance that was derived from Williams and

Anderson’s (1991) study. It consisted of a combination of IRB, OCBI, OCBO items that were measured separately.

Organizational performance. The second dependent variable was organizational performance. Organizational performance was the dependent variable in hypotheses two and four; it involved how well the group meets schedules, remains within budget, and provides its deliverables (Huang, 2009). Since acquisition project management and research and development both manage their projects similarly, the performance variable used in the study was derived from Huang’s (2009) study of performance of research and development teams. The five items that make up team performance in the survey instrument were derived from Lewis’ (2004) study.

Demographic variables

The study collected information on six demographic variables. These included: age, gender, organizational position, type of service, time in current position, and career field. The variables on type of position and type of service captured whether the respondent was a supervisory or non-supervisory employee, military or civil servant. The career fields for the study were: acquisition, research and development, or other.

Instrumentation

A comparison of the differences of follower style on all three aspects of job performance, and organizational performance have not been previously examined in scholarly literature. To measure follower styles, job and organizational performance this study employed previously validated measurement instruments for the independent variables and the dependent performance variables. Kelley (1992) developed a followership questionnaire that had been validated in three previously published studies and two dissertations that captured the research participants’ perceptions on the two dimensions of followership that were used to calculate their followership style. Williams and Anderson (1991) developed a job performance scale that included IRB, OCBI and OCBO items. Finally, Huang (2009) developed a survey instrument for research and development teams that contained five items on team performance.

The followership questionnaire. Kelley (1992) developed a 20 item survey contained in table A1. Each item was evaluated on a seven point Likert scale from zero to six as follows: 0 = never (zero percent of the time), 1 = once in a while (1-29 percent of the time), 2 = sometimes (30-59 percent of the time), 3 = occasionally (60-79 percent of the time), 4 = often (80-89 percent of the time, 5= almost always (90-99 percent of the time), and 6 = always (100 percent of the time). The study participant’s score for the particular dimension was determined by summing the ten scores for each of the items associated with the followership dimension as indicated below. Items 1, 5, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 from Kelley’s (1992) survey instrument reflect the respondent’s level of critical thinking. Items 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, and 15 reflect the study participant’s level of engagement. The study initially used the scoring criteria from Fobbs’ (2010) dissertation to categorize the study participants’ followership type. According to Fobbs (2010), participants with critical thinking scores from 31 to 60 and active engagement scores from 41 to 60 should be considered exemplary followers, while pragmatist followers have critical thinking scores and active engagement scores of 20 to 40. This scoring criteria is depicted in figure 1. An examination of figure one using Fobbs’ (2010) follower type scoring criteria revealed that this left individual’s with active engagement scores of 31 to 40 and critical thinking of 41 to 60 depicted in zone one as uncategorized. As a result, the categorization scoring criteria for this study was modified from the criteria used in Fobbs’ (2010) dissertation to account for this omission.

Consequently, this resulted in participants with critical thinking scores of 31 to 60 and active engagement scores of 41 to 60 or zone 1 critical thinking scores of 41 to 60 and active engagement scores of 31 to 40 being categorized as exemplary followers as described in table 1. Conformist followers had critical thinking scores of 0 to 30 and active engagement scores of 41-60 or zone 2 critical thinking scores of 0 to 19 and active engagement scores of 31 to 40. Passive followers had critical thinking scores of 0 to 30 and active engagement scores of 0 to 19 or zone 3 critical thinking scores of 0 to 19 and active engagement scores of 20 to 30. Alienated followers had critical thinking scores of 31 to 60 and active engagement scores of 0 to 19 or zone 4 critical thinking scores of 41 to 60 and active engagement scores of 20 to 30. The measurement instrument possesses face and content construct validity (Cozby & Bates, 2012) since it was based directly on the two dimensions and five follower types developed by Kelley (1992).

Follower performance. The job performance of followers was measured in the study using 20 items from Williams and Anderson’s (1991) scale on performance in table A2. Williams and Anderson’s (1991) scale included seven items to measure the IRB, seven items to measure OCBI, and six items to measure OCBO. Each item was evaluated on a seven point Likert scale from zero to six as follows: 0 = never, 1 = once in a while, 2 = sometimes, 3= occasionally, 4 = often, 5= almost always, and 6 = always. The Cronbach alpha for Williams and Anderson’s (1991) scale in previous studies 0.76.

Organizational performance. Organizational performance was measured in the study using the five performance items from Huang’s (2009) scale on research and development teams contained in table A3. The survey instrument used a five point Likert scale to measure the respondents’ perception of their organization’s performance. Since research and development teams’ performance outcomes are very similar to those of acquisition project management teams Huang’s (2009) survey items were modified slightly to read projects instead of research and development. The organizational performance items within Huang’s (2009) study were derived from Lewis’ (2004) study,

which had a Cronbach’s alpha reliability of 0.82. The content construct validity (Cozby and Bates, 2012) of the measure was directly related to the description of team performance from Huang’s (2009) study. The instrument was used to obtain the measure of the organizational performance variable that was used in the second and fourth hypotheses.

Table 1

Followership Style Scoring Criteria

Follower StyleActive Engagement Score Critical Thinking Score
Exemplary31 to 40&41 to 60
or41 to 60&31 to 60
Conformist31 to 40&0 to 19
or41 to 60&0 to 30
Passive0 to 19&0 to 30
or20 to 30&0 to 19
Alienated0 to 19&31 to 60
or20 to 30&41 to 60
Pragmatist20 to 40&20 to 40

Note. Followership style determination is based on total active engagement and total critical thinking scores from Kelley’s (1992) 20 item followership questionnaire. The determination of followership styles from the active engagement and critical thinking total scores included the modification of the scoring procedure used by Fobbs (2010).

Data Collection

A description is provided on the data collection methods used in the study. Also described are the ethical considerations that were used in collecting the data.

Methods. The researcher contacted one of the program executive offices and one of the research laboratories to request their support for the study on followership and performance. This phone contact was followed up through an email to the program executive offices’ human capital management directorate (HCMD) and the laboratory’s directorate of engineering. The email included a description of the study and its potential benefits as a means to solicit support for the study. The intent of the study was to obtain a convenience sample by having the HCMD and the engineering directorate

ask all their supervisors and employees to volunteer to participate in the study and to have the volunteers complete the survey instruments within a two-week period. Once the program executive office and laboratory were recruited to support the study, arrangements were made to have HCMD and the engineering directorate send out an email announcing the survey and solicit voluntary participation in taking the digital survey that was available on survey monkey. This enabled the participants to anonymously access the digital survey to input their perspectives into the instrument. The emailed survey instructions, as well as the instructions on the survey monkey web site, included a guarantee on the anonymity of the respondents, and informed the prospective participants that that if they voluntarily chose to participate in the survey it implied their voluntary consent. The email as well as the survey monkey web site instructions included a description of the purpose of the survey.

The four zones (exemplary, conformist, passive, and alienated) surround the central pragmatist zone. The alienated and passive followers are less engaged than the exemplary or conformist followers. The alienated and exemplary followers think more critically than the passive or conformist followers.

Figure 1: Modified Follower Scoring Criteria. Critical thinking (CT) and active engagement (AE) scores were each integer summations of the scores from the applicable 10 items from Kelley’s (1992) followership questionnaire.

Ethical Considerations. The research adhered to ethical standards of quantitative studies by obtaining approval of the survey instruments from the institutional review board (Cozby & Bates, 2012), and by providing the participants a full disclosure of the research intent (Qu & Dumay, 2011). The study guaranteed the participants the right to privacy and confidentiality prior to obtaining their informed consent to complete the empirical survey instrument (Cozby & Bates, 2012). Maintenance of confidentiality was

essential for this study since it helped mitigate the challenges of participant reticence to evaluate their job performance (Qu & Dumay, 2011) with respect to the five followership styles, and share their perceptions of their organization’s performance.

Consequently, confidentiality established a safe environment for the study participants (Cachia & Millward, 2011).

Data Analysis

To evaluate the first hypothesis a t test (Williams & Monge, 2001) was conducted on the difference in average job performance of participants categorized as exemplary followers and the average job performance of participants categorized as different types of followers. To evaluate the second hypothesis a t test was also conducted on the difference in average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers and the average organizational performance of work groups containing other types of followers.

To evaluate the third hypothesis an analysis was conducted to determine the correlation (Williams & Monge, 2001) between the followers’ active engagement and job performance, and the followers’ critical thinking and job performance. The fourth hypothesis was evaluated also through an analysis to determine the correlation (Williams & Monge, 2001) of the followers’ active engagement with organizational performance and followers’ critical thinking with organizational performance.

Prior to testing the first two hypotheses each of the respondents were categorized into one of five followership styles. This was accomplished by calculating the level of critical thinking and the level of engagement and then comparing the results with the modified scoring criteria contained in table 1. The level of critical thinking and the level of engagement are the two dimensions that were used to determine the followership style variables.

Results

The sample size for the study was 58 participants. This included 52 personnel from the Army program executive office and 6 personnel from the R&D laboratory. The gender of the respondents was primarily male (77.2 percent). The respondents were a mix of non-supervisory (61.4 percent) and supervisory (38.6 percent) employees. The overwhelming majority of the employees were civil servants (91.4 percent) from the acquisition career field (89.7 percent). The majority of the respondents had been in their positions for over 5 years (70.7 percent). Half the respondents were between the ages of 50 and 59, with only 29.3 percent of the respondents less than 50 years of age.

The analysis began with a determination of the reliability of the survey instruments used in the study. The Cronbach’s alpha for: Kelley’s (1992) followership questionnaire was .89, the active engagement items was .85, and the critical thinking items was 0.79. The Cronbach’s alpha for: the job performance items in Williams and Andersons (1991) performance scale was 0.84, and the work performance items within Huang’s (2009) R&D measurement scale was 0.90. Consequently, the measurement instruments used within the study were reliable.

The analysis continued with a determination of the active engagement and critical thinking scores for each of the study participants using their responses to Kelley’s (1992) followership questionnaire. Table 2 contained the descriptive statistics for the active engagement and critical thinking dimensions. Active engagement scores ranged from a minimum of 24 to a high of 58 out of a maximum score of 60. The active engagement mean was 44.7 with a standard deviation of 8.0. Critical thinking scores ranged from a minimum of 15 to a high of 56 out of a maximum score of 60. The critical thinking mean was 40.7 with a standard deviation of 8.9.

Table 2

Descriptive Statistics for Follower Dimension Scores

DimensionNLowHighRangeMeanStd. Deviation
Active Engagement5724583444.78.0
Critical Thinking5815564140.78.9

The 58 survey participants’ scores were evaluated using the scoring criteria in table 1. Since one of the study participants failed to respond to all of the active engagement items the categorization of the survey participants’ followership type was only performed on 57 of the survey participants. The categorization of these 57 survey respondents displayed in table 3 surprisingly revealed that 70.2 percent of the respondents (n = 40) were categorized as exemplary followers based on a combination of their responses to the active engagement and critical thinking items from Kelley’s (1992) followership style survey instrument. Only 24.6 percent of the respondents were categorized as pragmatist followers (n = 14), and 3.5 percent (n =2) of the respondents were categorized as conformist. Only 1.8% of the followers (n = 1) were categorized as alienated, and none of the followers were categorized a passive. The descriptive statistics for each of the followership types is displayed in table 4. Due to the fact that there were no passive followers in the study, and there was such a low number of conformist and alienated followers, their responses were insufficient to be used to evaluate hypotheses 1a through 1c, and hypotheses 2a through 2c. As a result, the data for the two conformists and one alienated follower was removed from further data analysis for the study.

Table 3

Follower Type Frequency

Follower TypeFrequencyPercentCumulative Percent
Exemplary4070.2100.0
Pragmatist1424.124.1
Conformist23.529.8
Alienated11.826.3
Passive00.026.3

Note. Total respondents included 58, with one respondent not answering enough survey items to have their followership style categorized.

Table 4

Descriptive Statistics for Follower Types

Active Engagement                                    Critical Thinking

Type  N  Min  Max  Range  MeanStd Dev.   Min  Max  Range  MeanStd Dev.
Exemplary4038582048.85.132562444.36.2
Pragmatist1427391236.03.125391532.95.0
Conformist23234233.01.41519417.02.8
Alienated124240—-—-42420—-—-
Passive0—-—-—-—-—-

An independent samples t test was then conducted to evaluate hypotheses 1d and 2d. The results of the t test for hypothesis 1d was significant (table 5) with t (19.73) = 3.16 and p = 0.005 < 0.010. When the variances are significantly different between the two groups and the sample sizes are different as they are in this study, the standard t value is not reported; instead the t value with unequal variance was used (Green & Salkind, 2014). The job performance of exemplary followers on average (M=5.3, SD = 0.5) was higher than the job performance of pragmatist followers (M= 4.8, SD = 0.6) as depicted in the descriptive statistics in Table 6.

Table 5

Job Performance Differences Between Exemplary and Pragmatist Follower Independent Samples t Test for Equality of Means

Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances

  FSig.tdfp-value (2 tailed)
Job PerformanceEqual variances assumed0.530.4713.4850.000.001
 Equal variances not assumed  3.1619.730.005

Note. Exemplary follower type (n = 40, M = 5.3, SD = 0.5), pragmatist follower type (n = 14, M = 4.8, SD = 0.6).

Table 6

Job Performance Descriptive Statistics

Follower Type  Mean  Median  VarianceStandard Deviation  Minimum  Maximum  Range
Pragmatist4.84.980.310.63.565.612.05
Exemplary5.35.400.200.54.335.931.60

The results of the t test for hypothesis 2d was also significant (table 7) with t (18.21) = 2.78 and p = 0.012 < 0.050. Similar to the t test for hypothesis 1d, the t test for hypothesis 2d also used the t value based on the assumption that variances were not equal. The organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers on average (M = 4.6, SD = 0.5) was higher than the organizational performance in work groups with pragmatist followers (M = 4.0, SD = 0.7) as depicted in the descriptive statistics in Table 8.

Table 7

Organizational Performance Differences Between Exemplary and Pragmatist Follower Independent Samples t Test for Equality of Means

Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances

  FSig.tdfp-value (2 tailed)
Work Group PerformanceEqual variances assumed0.100.7523.2152.000.002
 Equal variances not assumed  2.7818.210.012

Note. Exemplary follower type (n = 40, M = 4.6, SD = 0.5), pragmatist follower type (n = 14, M = 4.0, SD = 0.7).

Table 8

Work Group Performance Descriptive Statistics

Follower Type  Mean  Median  VarianceStandard Deviation  Minimum  Maximum  Range
Pragmatist4.04.000.430.72.605.002.40
Exemplary4.64.700.240.53.405.001.60

The results of the correlation analysis for hypotheses 3 and 4 are displayed in table 9. The Pearson correlation coefficient between active engagement and job performance was large (r = 0.56) with p = 0.000 < 0.010. The Pearson correlation coefficient between critical thinking and job performance was medium (r = 0.33) with p = 0.015 < 0.050. The Pearson correlation coefficient between active engagement and work group performance was medium (r= 0.32) with p = 0.017 < 0.050. The Pearson correlation coefficient between critical thinking and work group performance was not only low (r= 0.14) but was also not statistically significant since p = 0.304 > 0.050. The Pearson correlation of active engagement and critical thinking was also high (r = 0.74) with p = 0.000 < 0.010, and Pearson correlation of job performance with work group performance was medium (r = 0.34) with p = 0.015 < 0.050.

Table 9

Pearson Correlations between Active Engagement, Critical Thinking, Job Performance and Work Group Performance

  Active Engagement Critical Thinking Job Performance
Critical Thinking0.74**  
Job Performance0.56**0.33* 
Work Group Performance0.32*0.140.34*

Note. ** Correlation is significant at the 0.010 level (2-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.050 level (2-Tailed)

Discussion

The results of the t test analysis of job performance between exemplary and pragmatist followers suggested that the difference between job performance of exemplary followers, which was 0.52 higher than pragmatist followers on a Likert scale from zero to six, was statistically significant with p < 0.010. Consequently, these results support hypothesis 1d that there is a difference between the average job performances of exemplary and pragmatist followers. These results support the supposition that exemplary followers have higher job performances than pragmatist followers.

Unfortunately, based on the few conformist and alienated followers and the lack of passive followers that participated in the study, the results could not support the supposition that exemplary followers may have the best job performance in comparison to any of the other types of followers even though Blanchard et al.’s (2009) study suggested that exemplary followers’ high active engagement was positively related to organizational commitment, and exemplary followers have been posited to exceed the minimum to meet job requirements.

Since Oyetunji’s (2013) study on follower types and performance only focused on IRB and not the two other components of job performance posited by Williams and Anderson (1991), a further analysis of the difference between exemplary followership and pragmatist followership was conducted with respect to the three different job performance components. As depicted in table 10 exemplary followers have a higher average mean IRB and OCBI than pragmatist followers. This difference in average IRB between exemplary and pragmatist followers was statistically significant since p = .020

< .050. The difference in average OCBI between exemplary and pragmatist followers was also statistically significant with p = .009 < .010. Interestingly, the difference in average OCBO between exemplary and pragmatist followers was not statistically significant since t (25.52) = .68 and p = .502 > .050. This suggests that IRB and OCBI may have greater importance than OCBO in calculating job performance for followers. This speculative supposition will require further examination since this study did not include adequate conformist, alienated or passive follower data.

Table 10

IRB, OCBI, and OCBO Independent Samples t Test for Equality of Means

      
  Performancet-Test of Meansp-value (2-tailed)Follower Type  MeanStd. Dev.
In-Role Behaviorst (15.32) = 2.590.020Pragmatist Exemplary5.0 5.60.9
0.4
Organizational Citizenship Behaviors – Individualt (22.25) = 2.850.009Pragmatist Exemplary4.2
4.9
0.8
0.8
Organizational Citizenship Behaviors – Organizationalt (25.52) = 0.680.502Pragmatist Exemplary5.0 5.20.5
0.6

The results of the t test analysis of work group performance between exemplary and pragmatist followers suggested that the difference between organizational performance of exemplary followers in the work group, which was 0.53 higher than pragmatist followers on a Likert scale from one to five, was statistically significant with p < 0.050. Consequently, these results support hypothesis 2d that there is a difference in the average organizational performance of work groups with exemplary followers than with pragmatist followers. Once again, due to the lack of adequate sample size of conformist, alienated, and passive followers the supposition that work groups with exemplary followers may have a higher average work group performance than work groups with other types of followers could not be assessed in this study.

Hypotheses three and four were evaluated using Pearson’s correlation. The results suggested that active engagement is strongly positively correlated with job performance (r = 0.56) with statistical significance of p < 0.010, which supports hypothesis 3a. The results also suggested that active engagement is moderately positively correlated with work group performance (r = 0.32) with statistical significance of p< 0.050, which supports hypothesis 4a.

Furthermore, the results also suggested that critical thinking is moderately positively correlated with job performance with statistical significance of p < 0.050, which supports hypothesis 3b. Finally, critical thinking is not correlated with any statistical significance to work group performance since p > 0.050; consequently, hypothesis 4b is not supported by the study results.

Since Oyetunji’s (2013) study on follower types and performance only focused on IRB and not the two other components of job performance posited by Williams and Anderson (1991) a further analysis of the correlation between the dimensions of followership and IRB, OCBI, and OCBO was also conducted. As depicted in table 11 active engagement is moderately positively correlated with IRB, strongly positively correlated with OCBI, and moderately positively correlated with OCBO resulting in a strong positive correlation overall with job performance. Critical thinking, however, is only weakly positively correlated with OCBI, and not correlated with IRB and OCBO as illustrated in the table 11.

It was not possible to definitively ascertain the cause of the lack of correlation of I/RB and OCBO with critical thinking. Nor was it possible to determine if the lack of correlation of IRB and OCBO with critical thinking will be substantiated in future studies that have respondents with all five types of followership behaviors. It was speculated that the lack of correlation of IRB and OCBO with critical thinking may be related to the fact that independent critical thinking has been shown to be negatively related to organizational commitment (Blanchard et al., 2009).

Table 11

Pearson Correlations between Active Engagement, Critical Thinking, IRB, OCBI, OCBO and Job Performance

Followership DimensionIRBOCBIOCBOJob Performance
Active Engagement0.45**0.51**0.33*0.56**
Critical Thinking0.260.30*0.210.33*

Note: ** Correlation is significant at the 0.010 level (2-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the 0.050 level (2-Tailed)

Organizational commitment is based on employee identification with and participation in the organizational activities (Porter & Smith, 1970). Three factors are associated with organizational commitment (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979): values and goal congruence between the organization and members, inclination of members to exert themselves for the organization, and willingness to remain with the organization. Since increased self-exertion is similar to increased engagement in work activities (Kozlowski & Bell, 2003) it was posited that commitment may lead to increased work engagement. Increased work engagement probably then results in increased employee performance. As a result, a reduction in organizational commitment probably negatively impacts performance.

Within this study, all 40 exemplary followers and 9 of 14 pragmatist followers scored high in critical thinking with scores greater than 30. Acquisition and research and development tends to have complex interdependent dynamic projects that requires members’ assessments and the application of judgement in the completion of their tasks. Since those high in critical thinking independently analyze the information to ensure that they agree with the proposal before taking action, it was speculated that independent critical thinking may have negatively impacted follower IRB and OCBO behaviors resulting in the lack of correlation of critical thinking with IRB and OCBO. Surprisingly, critical thinking and OCBI were found to be weakly positively correlated despite the fact that 90.7 percent of respondents scored high on critical thinking. It is speculated that this may have possibly occurred based on two different factors. First, OCBI behaviors are altruistically focused on helping followers in the group. Second, decisions on how to help others may primarily be based on one’s ethical perspective of egoism rather than the results of critical thinking. Consequently, critical thinking probably had less impact on OCBI than IRB and OCBO behaviors within this study.

These suppositions as to why critical thinking is not correlated with IRB and OCBO, but OCBI behaviors, requires further investigation.

Limitations

The most significant limitations of this study was the small sample size of 57 useable responses. The study resulted in a surprisingly large number of exemplary followers (70.2 percent) and moderate number of pragmatist followers (24.6 percent) and an inadequate number of conformist, alienated, and no passive followers. Based on the small sample size it was not possible to determine if the skewed results were based on the unique characteristics of the organizational context. The typical employee within acquisition and research and development is college educated, and the work environment requires adaptability based on the complex interdependent dynamic tasks involved with the projects. Without an expanded study of followers from other program executive offices and laboratories within the Army, it will not be possible to ascertain if this studies sample of 96.5 percent high active engagement and 87.7 percent high critical thinking is the norm in the acquisition and research and development communities. Furthermore, the small sample size of this study limited the ability to examine the relationships between follower types and job and organizational performance that could be performed using a hierarchical regression analysis model.

Recommendations for Future Research

Although it was not possible to ascertain with any statistical significance, it appears that exemplary followership might be the dominate followership style within the acquisition, and research and development communities. Consequently, future studies within this organizational context should include a larger number of participants from across the acquisition, and research and development communities. Furthermore, to ensure that future studies include a statistically relevant number of respondents from all five different followership styles posited by Kelley (1992) a broader array of organizational contexts may need to be included in future studies of follower job performance and work group organizational performance, which will help improve the generalizability of the results. This will also enable the researchers to conduct hierarchical regression modeling to compare the relationship of the followership styles

with the job and organizational performance. Additionally, since the results suggested a statistically significant moderate correlation exists between job performance and organizational performance of work groups, future studies should examine not only the active engagement of different followership styles on organizational performance, but should also attempt to determine what other possible impacts besides job performance there may be on organizational performance. Furthermore, the results of this study suggested that further investigations on the relationship of the components of job performance with the different dimensions and types of followership may also be warranted in the future.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that about 80 percent of organizational success is posited to be a result of follower contributions (Kelley, 1992), little research has been conducted on followership (Uhl-Bien et al, 2014). Only five published studies have been conducted on the possible impacts of different styles of followership posited by Kelley (1992). One of these studies conducted by Oyetunji (2013) surveyed follower performance within a very limited context. Because Oyetunji’s (2013) study only examined IRB and not OCB job performance, and was conducted solely within the Botswana culture that may be a high power distance society like neighboring South Africa (Purohit & Simmers, 2006), a cross-sectional study was conducted that investigated for the first time the impacts of two of the five followership styles on all aspects of job performance posited by Williams and Anderson (1991) and team performance posited by Huang (2009) within the low power distance American culture (Hoppe & Bhagat, 2007). The study surveyed employees from one Army acquisition organization and one research and development laboratory using Kelley’s (1992) 20 item followership questionnaire, Williams and Anderson’s (1991) 20 item job performance scale, and Huang’s (2009) five item project team performance scale. The data from 57 participants was used to identify the followership styles being used by the survey participants. It was also used to capture the respondents’ perceptions of their job performance and the organization’s performance.

The average job performance of exemplary followers was 0.5 higher on a Likert scale from zero to six than the average job performance of pragmatist followers. The average organizational performance of exemplary followers in a work group was 0.5 higher on a Likert scale of one to five than the average organizational performance of work groups with pragmatist followers. The data was analyzed using t tests that suggested that the differences in average job performance and organizational performance between exemplary and pragmatist followers was statistically significant. Furthermore, the study results suggested that there is a statistically significant large correlation between active engagement dimension of followership and job performance, and a moderate correlation between active engagement and organizational performance. Finally, the study results revealed that the correlation between critical thinking and job performance was moderate; however, there was no statistically significant correlation between critical thinking and organizational performance.

Although the study’s small sample size, and perhaps the study’s organizational context resulted in limited to no data available for conformist, alienated, and passive followers required for the evaluation of hypotheses 1a through 1c and 2a through 2c, the study provided evidence to support Kelley’s (1992) and Blanchard et al.’s (2009) suppositions that exemplary followers tend to be committed to the organization resulting in work efforts that exceed the minimum required. Consequently, these results suggested that future empirical research is required to determine if: the norm in acquisition and research and development is exemplary followership, the average job performance and work group performance is statistically higher for exemplary followers than all other types of followers, and relationships exist between the dimensions and the different followership styles with the various aspects of job performance and work group performance.

Valentin Novikov is a fourth-year Ph.D. student at Regent University, where he is studying organizational leadership. He is a project manager for the Department of Defense and a retired Army officer.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Valentin Novikov at valenov@mail.regent.edu

Adsit, D. J., London, M., Crom, S., & Jones, D. (1997). Cross-cultural differences in upward ratings in a multi-cultural company. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 8, 385-401.

Bjugstad, K., Thach, E. C., Thompson, K. J., & Morris, A. (2006). A fresh look at followership: A model for matching followership and leadership styles. Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, 7(3), 304-311,313-319.

Blanchard, A. L, Welbourne, J., Gilmore, D., & Bullock, A. (2009). Followership styles and employee attachment to the organization. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 12, 111-131.

Booysen, L. E., & van Wyk, M. W. (2007). Culture and leadership in South Africa. In J. R. House, F. C. Bodbeck, & J. S. Chhokar (Eds.), The GLOBE book of in-depth studies of 25 societies (pp. 433-474). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cachia, M., & Millward, L. (2011). The telephone medium and semi-structured interviews: A complementary fit. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 6(3), 265-277.

Carron, A. V., Widmeyer, W., & Brawley, L. (1985). The development of an instrument to assess cohesion in sport teams: The group environment questionnaire. Journal of Sport Psychology, 7(3), 244-266.

Colangelo, A. J. (2000). Followership: Leadership styles (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304611510)

Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. C. (2012). Methods in behavioral research (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Curphy, G. J. (1998). Leadership personality survey: User’s guide. Minneapolis, MN: Personnel Decisions International.

Dickson, M. W., Den Hartog, D. N., & Michelson, J. K. (2003). Research on leadership in a cross-cultural context: Making progress and raising new questions. Leadership Quarterly, 14, 729-768.

Fobbs, T. (2010). The evaluation of a paradigm: The critical examination of the influence of followership styles and courageous follower attributes on hotel customer-contact employee job satisfaction (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (305242542)

Green, S. B., & Salkind, N. J. (2014). Using SPSS for windows and macintosh: Analyzing and understanding data (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Hersey, P. (1993). Lead other: Leadership style/perception of other. Escondido, CA: Center for Leadership Studies.

Hoppe, M. H., & Bhagat, R. S. (2007). Leadership in the United States of America: The leader as cultural hero. In J. R. House, F. C. Bodbeck, & J. S. Chhokar (Eds.), The GLOBE book of in-depth studies of 25 societies (pp. 475-547). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Huang, C. (2009). Knowledge sharing and group cohesiveness on performance: An empirical study of technology R&D teams in Taiwan. Technovation, 29, 786-797.

Johnson, J., Boucher, K., Connors, K., & Robinson, J. (2001). Collaborating on project success.

Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 141-148.

Kelley, R. E. (1992). The power of followership: How to create leaders people want to follow, and followers who lead themselves. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Kelley, R. E. (2008). Rethinking followership. In R. E. Riggio, I. Chaleff, & J. Lipman- Blumen (Eds.), The Art of followership: How great followers create great leaders and organizations (pp. 5-16). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kozlowski, S. W. J., & Bell, B. S. (2003). Work groups and teams in organizations. In W.

C. Borman, D. R. Ilgen, & R. J. Klimoski (Eds.), Handbook of psychology (pp. 333-375). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Latour, S. M., & Rast, V. J. (2004). Dynamic followership: The prerequisite for effective leadership. Air & Space Power Journal, 18(4), 102-110.

Lewis, K. (2004). Knowledge and performance in knowledge-work teams: A longitudinal study of transactive memory systems. Management Science, 50(11), 1519-1533.

Meyer, J. P., & Allen, N. J. (1997). Commitment in the workplace: Theory, research, and application. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mowday, R. T., Steers, R. M., & Porter, L. W. (1979). The measurement of organizational commitment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 14, 224-247.

Ng, C., & Walker, D. H. T. (2008). A study of project management leadership styles across life cycle states of an IT project in Hong Kong. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 1(3), 404-427.

O’Reilly, C., III, & Chatman, J. 1986. Organizational commitment and psychological attachment: The effects of compliance, identification, and internalization on prosocial behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 492-499.

Organ, D. W., & Konovsky, M. (1989). Cognitive versus affective determinants of organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 157-164.

Oyetunji, C. O. (2013). The relationship between followership style and job performance in Botswana private universities. International Education Studies, 6(2), 179-187.

Porter, L. W., & Smith, F. J. (1970). The etiology of organizational commitment. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Irvine: CA.

Purohit, Y. S., & Simmers, C. A. (2006). Power distance and uncertainty avoidance: A cross-national examination of their impact on conflict management modes.

Journal of International Business Research, 5(1), 1-19.

Qu, S. Q., & Dumay, J. (2011). The qualitative research interview. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 8(3), 238-264.

Stagnaro, C., & Piotrowski, C. (2014). Shared leadership: A critical component in IT project management. Journal of Technology Research, 5, 1-21.

Tanoff, G. F., & Barlow, C. B. (2002). Leadership and followership: Same animal, different spots? Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 54(3), 157-167.

Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R, E., Lowe, K. B., & Carsten, M. K. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. Leadership Quarterly, 25, 83-104.

Weiss, D. J., Dawis, R. V., England, G. W., & Lofquist, L. H. (1967). Manual for the Minnesota satisfaction questionnaire. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Industrial Relations Center.

Williams, F., & Monge, P. (2001). Reasoning with statistics: How to read quantitative research. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Williams, G. S. (2008). The hero’s journey to effective followership and leadership: A Practitioner’s focus. In R. E. Riggio, I Chaleff, & J. Lipman-Blumen, (Eds.), The art of followership: How great followers create great leaders and organizations (pp. 95-108). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. (1991). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors of organizational citizenship and in-role behaviors. Journal of Management, 17(3), 601-617.

Table A1

Followership Style Survey

Question
1. Does your work help you fulfill some societal goal or personal dream that is important to you?
2. Are your personal work goals aligned with your organization’s priority goals?
3. Are you highly committed to and energized by our work and organization, giving them your best ideas and performance?
4. Does your enthusiasm also spread to and energize your coworkers?
5. Instead of waiting for or merely accepting what your organizational leader tells you, do you personally identify which activities are most critical for achieving the organization’s most important goals?
6. Do you actively develop a distinctive competence in those critical activities so that you become more valuable to your leader and your organization?
7. When starting a new task, do you promptly build a record of successes in tasks that are important to your organizational leader?
8. Can your organizational leader give you a difficult assignment without the benefit of much supervision, knowing that you will meet your deadline with highest-quality work and that you will “fill in the cracks” if need be?
9. Do you take the initiative to seek out and successfully complete assignments that go above and beyond your job?
10. When you are not the leader of a group project, do you still contribute at a high level, often doing more than your share?
11. Do you independently think up and champion new ideas that will contribute significantly to the leader’s or the organization’s goals?
12. Do you try to solve tough problems (technical or organizational) rather than look to the leader to do it for you?
13. Do you help out other co-workers, making them look good, even when you don’t get any credit?
14. Do you help the leader or group see both the upside potential and the downside risks of ideas or plan, planning the devil’s advocate if need be?
15. Do you understand the leader’s needs, goals, and constraints and then work hard to help meet the leader’s needs and goals and work within the leader’s constraints?
16. Do you actively and honestly admit to your strengths and weaknesses rather than delay evaluation?
17. Do you make a habit of internally questioning the wisdom of the leader’s decisions rather than just doing what you are told?
18. When the leader asks you to do something that runs contrary to your professional or personal preferences, do you say “no” rather than “yes”?
19. Do you act on your own ethical standards rather than the leaders or the group’s standards?
20. Do you assert your views on important issues, even though it might conflict with your group or reprisals from your leader?

Note. The followership questionnaire developed by Kelley (1992). Validated survey includes 20 items with seven point Likert scale from zero to six as follows: 0 = never, 1 = once in a while, 2 = sometimes, 3= occasionally, 4 = often, 5= almost always, and 6 = always. Items 1, 5, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 reflect the respondent’s level of critical thinking. Items 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, and 15 reflect the study participant’s level of engagement.

Table A2

Williams and Anderson’s Performance Scale

Question
1. Adequately completes assigned duties.
2. Fulfills responsibilities specified in job description.
3. Performs tasks that are expected of him/her.
4. Meets formal performance requirements of the job.
5. Engages in activities that will directly affect his/her performance evaluation.
6. Neglects aspects of the job he/she is obligated to perform ®.
7. Fails to perform essential duties (R).
8. Helps others who have been absent.
9. Helps others who have heavy workloads.
10. Assists supervisor with his/her work (when not asked).
11. Takes time to listen to co-workers problems and worries.
12. Goes out of the way to help new employees.
13. Takes a personal interest in other employees.
14. Passes along information to co-workers.
15. Attendance at work is above the norm.
16. Gives advance notice when unable to come to work.
17. Takes undeserved work breaks (R).
18. Great deal of time spent with personal phone conversations (R).
19. Complains about insignificant things at work (R).
20. Adheres to informal rules devised to maintain order.

Note. The performance scale developed by Williams and Anderson (1991). Includes seven items to measure the IRB, seven items to measure OCBI, and six items to measure OCBO. Each item is evaluated on a seven point Likert scale from zero to six as follows: 0 = never, 1 = once in a while, 2 = sometimes, 3= occasionally, 4 = often, 5= almost always, and 6 = always.

Table A3

Huang R&D Measurement Scale

VariableQuestion
Organizational Performance1. My team’s deliverables are of excellent quality for their projects.
2. Going by the results, the projects can be regarded as successful.
3. My team manages time effectively on their projects.
4. My team meets important deadlines on time on their projects.
5. My team is within budget on their projects.

Note. Developed by Huang (2009). All items use a five point Likert scale as follows: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, or 5 = strongly agree. Items related to organizational trust from Huang’s (2009) study survey have been omitted since they are not relevant to the study.

Founded in 1978, Regent University is America’s premier Christian university with more than 11,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 150 areas of study including business, communication and the arts, counseling, cybersecurity, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare, and psychology. Regent University is ranked the #1 Best Accredited Online College in the United States (Study.com, 2020), the #1 Safest College Campus in Virginia (YourLocalSecurity, 2021), and the #1 Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Virginia for 10 years in a row (U.S. News & World Report, 2022).
The School of Business & Leadership is a Gold Winner – Best Business School and Best MBA Program by Coastal Virginia Magazine. The school also has earned a top-five ranking by U.S. News & World Report for its online MBA and online graduate business (non-MBA) programs. The school offers both online and on-campus degrees including Master of Business Administration, M.S. in Accounting (to include CPA Exam & Licensure Track), M.S. in Business Analytics, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, MA. in Product Management, Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, and Doctor of Strategic Leadership.